Oklahoma professor looks at impact of pausing student loan debt – FOX23 News

Oklahoma professor looks at impact of pausing student loan debt – FOX23 News
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Norman, Oklahoma. Millions of Americans with student debt are breathing a sigh of relief after President Joe Biden once again extended the suspension of student loan payments through May.

Phyllis Tait, a professor at Oklahoma City University School of Law, says the pause was a godsend for her fight against Oklahoma residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Oklahoma is one of the lowest middle-income families in America,” Tate said. “In fact, only seven states have lower middle-income families than Oklahoma, so this is a target demographic.”

With 45 million Americans holding student loans, Tite said the pause offered cash-strapped people an opportunity to make up for what they missed.

“People with student loans are disproportionately low-income, low-income people, especially black and brown people,” she said. “Eighty-five billion dollars will be saved through this pause, so it has a real impact on real people in real time.”

While the next due date for student payments is May 1, Taite said she wouldn’t be surprised to see an additional extension.

“I think it will depend on how this variant of omicron affects people,” she said. “The whole point of these pauses is to give people a break. People are losing their jobs. People are leaving their jobs. People are retiring because of the coronavirus.”

But if you have the money, Taite said paying now will save you later.

“It’s a deferment. If you are able to pay it off, take advantage of that 0% rate to reduce your principal, so when the payments resume and the interest rate comes back, you have a lower total debt repayment.”

When it’s time to start paying off, Taite suggests looking at the various payment plans offered by the Department of Education or considering a career change to save big money.

“One of the things that hasn’t been announced at the moment is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program,” Tite said. “This is for people in those eligible districts like firefighters and teachers, and I know for a fact that in Oklahoma we have a shortage of teachers. We have 9,500 people who are eligible to retire as of December 2021. So, there will be a lot of opportunities to teach, and that coincides with this tolerance program.”

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